by Kris Neri
While most of the Femmes, and probably many of you, were at Bouchercon, I was in Denver for the Colorado Gold Writers’ Conference sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
This fabulous conference is always one of my favorites, and though it’s always well attended, I think it deserves even more attention.
There are always scads of agents and editors in attendance. One free pitch is included for any of the attendees who want one, and everyone can sign up for extra pitch sessions with other agents or editors.
This year’s special guests were historical author Margaret George, urban fantasy author Rob Thurman, and horror writer Ronald Malfi. Rob wrote about her experiences at the conference on her blog: http://robthurman.net/urban-fantasy/rmfw-con-writers-cons-vs-fan-cons. It was kinda funny watching her swig her free wine straight from the bottle (you have to read her blog to understand that). I also really enjoyed Margaret George's inspiring talk at the banquet.
The workshops are enormously varied and always bring a great depth of expertise. I presented two sessions: a two-hour workshop on novel structure, which included two exercises and feedback, and a one-hour session on all-things clue-related. Both were SRO, and given the good feedback I received, my audience really liked my presentations.
Some of the sessions I especially enjoyed attending were:
Writing Action & Fight Scenes, presented by Quincy Allen, M.H. Boroson, and
Travis Heermann, Snapping Pictures with Words, presented by Angie Hodapp and
Jeanne C. Stein, Vivid Writing, by Carol Berg, and Why Would Librarians Buy
Your Book — or Not, which was taught by Coloardo Librarians, Mary Gillgnnon,
Alice Kober, and Jordana Vincent. That
one taught me a lot I didn’t know about how libraries and librarians work.
Some sessions I wish I could have attended were: 10 Common Mistakes Fiction Writes Make, presented by
Leslie Budewitz — unfortunately, my own structure talk was scheduled at the same time as Leslie’s workshop. But it was great that Leslie and I got to hang together there. I also wish I could have seen Writing Fast and Writing Better, presented by Cindi Myers, but I had a meeting scheduled for that time. I did buy a CD of that session, and I’m enjoying listening to it in my car.
The RMFW always chooses a Writer of the Year. This year’s choice was mystery and women’s fiction author, Linda Joffe Hull. Linda gave a heartfelt and honest speech on the path she followed to publication, which surely inspired and encouraged all aspiring writers in the audience.
Chair Susan Brooks and her team of volunteers put on such a truly exceptional event. And this year they faced an unexpected challenge. Just days before the conference, the hotel informed them that they’d have to give up some of the function rooms they’d chosen because the Red Cross needed that space to conduct emergency volunteer sessions for the hundreds of volunteers helping the Colorado flood victims. Susie told me that, of course, she considered what the Red Cross was doing to be much more important than her conference. She handled the changes with serene-seeming aplomb. Despite the last minute shuffling of function rooms, Colorado Gold went off without a hitch.
Writers, you should put Colorado Gold into your calendar for next year. You won’t believe how much you’ll learn.
PS Unrelated to the conference, but giving the weekend a special glow for me, was the announcement that my latest Tracy Eaton mystery, Revenge on Route 66, was named a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award nominee!